If you’re new to social media, or you’re trying out a new platform, where do you start?
The real beginning, of course, is identifying your best strategy, including the places where you want to have a presence and the goals you have for those interactions.
We do that for people, or you can read about this step in some previous posts:
- Choose the Right Social Media Channel
- Social Media: Do You Need a Plan?
- How Measurable is Social Media… Really?
Once you’ve done the preliminaries and you’re ready to plunge in, you can’t just jump in and start posting ads, or even bounding up to people (virtually) and asking them to be your friends.
If someone follows us on Twitter, we go look at their page to see whether we want to follow them back. There may be absolutely fascinating people who reached out to us when they were yet mere bald eggs at Twitter with no tweets, no link to a website, and no followers — and we didn’t follow them. We’re not the only ones who make that choice.
So you need to establish a presence, and for that, you need content. Let us show you a few examples.
Above is a conversation at Twitter on behalf of a company that isn’t quite ready to launch. Their website is live, but it’s still a work in progress. They want to test the waters, have some conversations, get some tweets out there, but not to bring people to their website. We’re not yet following people on their behalf or talking much, but we are reaching out to people in an honest, “We’re new around here” sort of way.
When they launch (next week), we’ll have something going on at our page and we can step out boldly.
The second example is our own Google + business page (come on over and make friends with us!) . We were early adopters at G+, personally, but we just put up our business page, so we’re working on getting some interesting and unique content there. Sure, we’re linking to posts from this blog, and we’ll probably link to other staff blogs as well, but right now the important thing is to make sure that visitors get an accurate and positive impression of our company.
We’re building G+ pages for our social media clients as well. Each one has a different strategy, of course, but the initial goal at this point is to provide a good representation of the company.
Visuals are more important at YouTube than at Spoke, of course, but you should always consider them if they are an option at the social media site you’re trying out. We have logos redone to fit the space, Photoshop images to maintain focus and accuracy, and seek out the right pictures to represent the company.
Our third example is from a specialized social media site. It’s easy to overlook these, and they’re usually not as jazzy as the big social media platforms, but a forum that tells you to “Invite all your roofer friends!” is likely to be a good place for professional networking.
We met yesterday with a group of scientists who want to appeal to investors and to researchers. Social media allows you to do this: you set up a good presence in the places where both groups hang out and choose (and express) your links accordingly when you prepare links to your website.
Your profile, page, or persona shouldn’t be identical to and interchangeable with anyone else’s. It should give as clear an impression of your company as possible, and keep your goals for social media clearly in mind.
It should be ready for visitors before you start bringing many visitors to it. The first stage is adding content — words, pictures, information, maps, graphics, videos — and the second stage is engaging with customers and colleagues. Don’t invite all your roofer friends till you’ve got some good stuff on the page.